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Human Resources/Working as a contractor.. advice


Hi Brian,

A bit background:
I have been working as a Contractor at an awesome company for about  a month now. I love the job and the company culture and definitely want to try my best to be taken on as a perm, regular employee. And I am working through a placement agency, with a great recruiter. The thing is, I was told this job is contract only and will be *at least* 3 months with no guarantee to perm conversion... and as a contractor, the biggest fear is the insecurity.

My questions for you:
I really want to be a full-time employee here.. how do I approach this?
Is a month in working too early to ask?
Who should I talk to about this.. my recruiter? My current manager? Or the hiring manager for the role?

Initially, I was going to just ask my current manager and the hiring manager for the new role, but I didn't know if it was appropriate.
I was then going to talk to my recruiter, but I thought it won't be good since he will probably dislike the idea (since he make a percentage off my paycheck as a contractor).

I actually found an opening on the company's web page for a VERY similar role which I am currently doing and would love to be considered for that.

Could you tell me, from your experience as a Recruiter yourself on how you would react to this situation, where your placement ask to be a FT employee with your client?

I understand that if the company decides to take on the contractor for FT as the same initial role they came in as, the recruiter/agency makes money. But with the no guarantee, i am afraid I might lost my chance.. hence, why I want to apply to a a different, similar role. But in that case, in a perfect world, if I apply and get hired, the agency won't make money so I am a bit discouraged to talk to my recruiter about this from the get-go....

Hope you understand my situation and look forward to your response. I really love working here!


Your situation is not unique.

Since you were only there a month, I would be concerned about following through on the work you were assigned there to complete.  Regardless of whether the recruiter put you there or you were hired on your own merit,  your work is the most important.      

Although you are now  "inside" the company and see the opportunity and you want to begin taking steps to move to another position, I would not be so aggressive.   This is a tightrope you are walking.   There are SSSoooooo many variables in your situation that explaining them all here would take an hour.   The best thing is you say you have a great recruiter. Hopefully their ethics are notable and their interests lie with finding the best person for their Client-- NOT having a long term moneymaker that drips profits from the Client due to burdensome service terms.     

The basic facts are:
1- you are employed and earning money doing a job you like #or you would not have accepted it#

2- Your worksite #the Recruiter's Client#  depends on the recruiter to find people like you to work as a temporary or contractor.   PS, contractor and temporary employee are the same as you are an employee of the recruiter or agency who assigned you there.   Contractor sounds better and may imply you earn more cash,  but same nevertheless.

3- You are an at-will employee and can leave this job or any other with or without notice or reason.   The project of at least three months can end tomorrow;  or it can go 18 months and you are still  "a Contractor"  as there is no guarantee to transition over to a Company employee after X weeks under the Agency as a temp or Contractor.  Work is therefore indefinite.

Also, and more importantly,  it is also indefinite as an employee of the Company- no difference.

4-  Your Recruiter likely has a service agreement with their client to prevent "contractors"  like you from "quitting"  and then immediately starting to work for the Client.    Some recruiters have a way to deal with this like a "buyout fee", but others don't.

5-  Although they like you, the Client may have NO INTEREST now or in the future of ever bringing you or anyone else on full time.  There are many reasons for this.  So, why use the recruiter?  There are many reasons for this too.

6-  You may literally be the best they ever had there,  and if so, it will be up to the recruiter to let you go and for the Client to notice and make you one of their employees.   Otherwise,  you will remain a Contractor until your job  or project ends in  XX days, weeks, etc.

7-  Don't worry about whether the agency will or will not make money if you leave-  I'm sure they will cover their bases.   Agency always makes money.  

8-  If you decide to quit on your own and apply for this job,  it is likely a poor choice as the recruiter and Company will have an agreement not to hire anyone that was assigned there in the last year or so.  This is a non-compete agreement of sorts.    If this were allowed, everyone would do it.   The Agency, and their great recruiter, would FIERCELY defend this in their service Agreement to prevent you from being employed there in any way or form if you happened to disappear then show up again on your own a few weeks later.  

9-  After being in this place a while,  you may have a different opinion of it.   Being there through the Recruiter insulates you a bit from the internal politics and dynamics of the Company and lets you be more of a observer.

So, what to do?   You are looking for greener grass already and ready to cross the street for a new opportunity and you were only at his company for a month?     Give it some more time.    Rather than complicate things with your interest in climbing the ladder already,  do better work by learning who the players are, "experience" the company and do your best job.  Ask for more work-- always.   

If you find the project ends in 2 months,  then you did a great job for the recruiter and they will try to use you again-- also the Client will remember you.

Don't jump too fast Grasshopper.

You say,  " you really love working here" in your last line..  So, what would make it better?  Changing the name on your paycheck?   Silly.  You are there already !!  Don't get stymied by the details of a name on your pay check- this is a little egocentric.  #sorry#

Help your recruiter and they will help you.  You will gain this on your resume and the experience is even more.      Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards.... or Recruiters.

So, I hope this helps somehow and know that you already have the prize you seek.  


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Brian Phillips


Foreign and US university students -*PLEASE*- DO NOT waste your time asking for my opinions, comments or analysis of your homework questions. Homework questions are not answered and are rejected. I am happy to help answer questions asked by employees and employers regarding United States based state and Federal wage and hour, OT, Fair labor standards, FMLA, COBRA, Recruiting, Interviewing techniques, employee manuals, discipline, terminations/quits, unemployment, HRIS rollout, Employee Leasing or Staffing company cost analysis, day to day scenarios, work situations and more. Essentially a well rounded HR generalist who operates Harvis, Inc., a human resource consulting and service business based in Northeastern Pennsylvania "NEPA".


At Harvis, Inc., we provide Human Resource products, services and advice to small businesses that may not have the time or resources to hire a full time HR department. For larger companies with HR managers in place, we compliment their expertise to help with time consuming or time sensitive projects like updating policy manuals, screening and interviewing and more. We make workplaces better by becoming that 1/2 person they need to help handle HR responsibilities on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Formerly responsible for all Human Resource activity for a staffing agency with 2,500 annual employees as well as an employee leasing / PEO business with 1,500 annual employees. Designed and implemented the HR structure to support hundreds of clients in excess of $ 500 million in payroll volume over career in Human Resources.

* President 2006- Harvis Inc. HR Services * President 2010-13 Business Association of the Greater Shickshinny Area - Shickshinny PA * President 2013- ShickshinnyForward Not for Profit Community Long Term Revitalization Organization and former member of varios Chambers of Commerce and HR Taskforce, former President of NBC Business Club 2 years

Bloomsburg University - 1993 BS Marketing, Bloomsburg Pennsylvania and Luzerne County Community College - 1991 Business Administration, Nanticoke Pennsylvania

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* Better than average - 20/10 vision * Bestowed with an occasional "Thank You" from clients and their employees.

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